A donation of one million euros will enable new initiatives in water engineering and technology research

The Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry (MVTT) association has decided to make a significant donation to the University of Oulu. The donation of one million euros has been allocated to the technical field. Established in 1949, MVTT is the most significant supporter in the field of water engineering and technology in Finland, and the donation to the University of Oulu is one of their largest. The association has regularly supported research in their field at the University of Oulu.
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The University of Oulu will use the donation to develop expertise in the digitalisation in hydrological modelling and water engineering applications. The aim is to create a new professorship that would combine the research of hydrology with versatile expertise in numerical modelling and ICT.

“I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry for their considerable support to the University of Oulu. The donation makes it possible to invest in a more sustainable and intelligent future for water engineering. Our university's research in water engineering is already closely involved in the digitalisation development in the field. Our broad academic base provides an excellent basis for combining research in different fields,” says Jouko Niinimäki, Rector of the University of Oulu.

“Over the decades, we have awarded thousands of grants to the field of water engineering ranging from water management in agriculture to water treatment technology and global water issues. A donation of one million euros to the University of Oulu is our way of speeding up the stream of opportunities and participating in safeguarding the living environment of future generations. We want to support research and initiatives that are widely applicable in Finland and internationally and that cross sectoral and disciplinary boundaries. We are delighted, therefore, with the University of Oulu's decision to use the donation to strengthen future expertise in water resources engineering through digitalisation,” says Minna Maasilta, Managing Director at MVTT.

Combining competences in water engineering and in ICT will enable a smarter and safer use of water resources, all while considering the different perspectives of the environment and sustainability. Improved digital modelling can be used to observe, model, and simulate natural phenomena and the impacts of human activities, and to develop solutions to them. Björn Klöve, Professor of Water Technology, welcomes the new initiatives that become possible with the additional resourcing.

“We are now able to strengthen the international position of the University of Oulu as a leading research environment of water engineering, especially as an expert in research and modelling of hydrological processes in cold climates. With digitalisation, the development of observation methods, extensive data sets, and the integration of computing models bring new opportunities for research and the application of research results. For example, a more detailed simulation of water quantity and quality in drainage basins and rivers allows us to examine the impacts of land use and climate change, water protection planning, and safe water management. Waterbody models enable creating a decision-making support system that examines, for example, the impacts of bioeconomy and renewable energy on waterbodies and plans effective measures for restoring waterbodies,” Professor Klöve says.

The University of Oulu wants their research results to be actively used in society and cooperates closely with companies in the field. New resourcing will also strengthen the cooperation between companies in water engineering and technology and the practical application of research solutions.

The donation of MVTT is part of the Finnish Government’s matched funding programme, which significantly increases the impact of donations. Sitra will capitalise universities with a total of EUR 67 million, which will be distributed in proportion to the private capital collected by the universities by 30 June 2022. The amount of matched funding is up to 2.5 times larger. The University of Oulu will channel the donated funds to activities that, in line with the university’s strategy, increase the effectiveness and impact of research through, for example, top recruitments and new research initiatives.

Last updated: 10.12.2021